Keys to teaching active listening to children

We all like to be listened to carefully when we speak. For this reason, we tell you what active listening consists of and we share with you some keys to teach it to children.


Teaching active listening to children from an early age is important for their healthy development. A child must learn to speak and express themselves correctly, but they must also learn to listen. This will help him, when he is older, to do well in all areas of his life.

Because learning to listen is more complex than simply hearing others. Active listening involves values ​​such as respect, but other skills that are necessary to listen to the other are at stakesuch as empathy and understanding as well as the ability to concentrate and pay attention.

What is active listening and what does it consist of?

It is an expression that comes from the field of human communication and that refers, as many surveys and studies indicate, to a essential communication skill to improve interpersonal relationships.

When a person is able to actively listen to another, they are psychologically prepared and available to listen to the speaker’s messages. In other words, she is ready to be respectful of what she hears and respond with a message consistent with the content at stake in the conversation.

Additionally, as mentioned, to perform and improve the skill of active listening, other skills must be developed, such as empathy. Empathy for Power put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand both what he says and what he feels, or develop the cognitive capacity to be able to interpret the message of the other interlocutor.

Moreover, to listen actively, it is necessary to be able to evidence of understanding through certain non-verbal behaviors. Such as, for example, showing a responsive body posture, maintaining eye contact, using facial expressions and gestures that denote attentiveness and friendliness, and using the correct tone of voice, i.e. soft and slow.

“Knowing how to listen goes beyond the ability to hear the words of others. »

The ability to actively listen in children

By their very nature, children tend to get distracted when an adult talks to them or when they talk to each other. Toddlers are not able to maintain a conversation in all situations by listening with full attention. Children, while they are talking or being talked to, play, move and anything catches their attention.

Therefore, to teach active listening to children, adults must first be aware that it is a skill. And, like any skill, to learn it, it must be practiced gradually and regularly.

Thus, it is important that parents and educators know the appropriate techniques and methodologies and have some keys to teaching children to listen actively.

“Talking is a necessity, listening is an art. »

Keys to teaching active listening to children

Through the game

Any playful and fun activity that involves certain rules is essential to teach children to listen actively. Respecting the rules of a game, having to wait one’s turn or respecting whoever has the floor helps to develop listening skills.

Thereby, propose and organize games with children is an excellent strategy for fostering the development of the ability to listen to others with interest.

So, for example, the game of “broken phone” or the game of completing the sentence require children to be able to pay attention to what others are saying.

Teach them to avoid

To teach a child to listen, you must first teach him to avoid certain problems, such as interrupting. For this reason it is always good to emphasize that, when a person speaks, they must be listened to with respect and without interrupting them. And, once the other has finished speaking, then, yes, we can respond or comment on what he said.

Also, it is good to teach little ones to avoid putting their hands in their pockets or crossing their arms when talking to another person, and to explain that this can show a lack of interest in what they are being told. said.

Mastering the body to teach active listening to children

Another key to helping children develop active listening is teaching them to manage their own bodies. That’s to say teach them, for example, to smile or look the person talking to them in the eye. Or to maintain good posture during conversation, such as keeping your back straight and your head up.

It is good to teach the little ones the importance of this type of physical arrangement to carry on a conversation. That they learn to manage and predispose their body in communicative situations is part of learning active listening.

The key to teaching children active listening is to do it by example.

The key to active listening for a child is to feel that others are also listening intently, with understanding and with full empathy. If adults want children to learn to listen, Doing so by example is an essential condition.

Thus, when a child speaks, what is asked of him must be done by the adults. In other words, parents and teachers should put aside the cell phone, the computer, the stress and the obligations and should look the child in the eye to listen actively.

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